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tv   [untitled]    January 13, 2012 9:01pm-9:31pm PST

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district attorney of the city and county of san francisco. congratulations. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] >> it is really a tremendous honor for me to be here today. first, i want to say a few words in spanish.
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[speaking spanish] to my sons, you are incredible. i am so proud of all of you. before i go on, i also want to say a few words to the people behind me. these people have made the difference for me. i am going to start with mayer brown, who became a friend a long time ago. has always been a supporter, someone that i trust his counsel, and his support has
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been meeting all -- meaningful to me. kamala harris, a wonderful friend, one that i met telephonically initially as i was considering coming to san francisco. from day one, we hit it off. your support, friendship, and your endorsement meant a great deal to me. gavin newsom, there is not much i can say. i would not be here but for gavin. he offered me the opportunity to come here to be the chief of police. at the time when we worked together, i could not have asked for a better mayor. you were there to support, you never micromanaged. you provided the tools for me to get the job done. as we were talking about
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replacing a mutual friend, someone i supported greatly, because i believe she was the most qualified person to be the attorney-general in this state, we started talking, and the offer came up, something quite unexpected. frankly, i have to think about it. it was not something that i was ready for. but i cannot tell you, gavin, how much your support has meant for me, and obviously your endorsement in the election. to my right, senator feinstein was somebody that i respected for many years. when i was at the lapd, we work with her office regularly, dealing with assault weapons. how do we make our country safer? no one, other than the military, should own an assault rifle. hopefully, we can get back to that one day.
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i remember working with your staff in those years, learning to respect you a great deal. quite frankly, i was not familiar with your san francisco story, other than that you came from here. coming here and then getting to know what you did for this wonderful city. as i decided to embark on this wonderful journey, your endorsement was so wonderful. i will never forget you for that. i will be there for you, what ever you need. carlos moreno is someone that i have a very special place in my heart. carlos came from east l.a., at a place that i grew up in, and very familiar with, and a place that will always be close to my heart. not only did noi know about cars
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as an accomplished attorney, but he was a great friend of al a -- l.a. there was a great deal of segregation in the lapd, but moving forward, he came to us to make sure that we had a different place, an organization that reflected the communities that we served. a place where hispanic americans, african-americans, women, many others in the organization, would have an opportunity to rise based on their own excellence. it was then that i really got to know carlos and admired what he did. frankly, when this opportunity came, carlos was one of the first people i called.
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i said, can i have your endorsement? without hesitation, he said, absolutely. i will never forget you for that. when i won the election, and frankly, it was the holidays, moving at 100 miles per hour. people were asking who i would like to swear me in, and without hesitation, carlos' name came up. i was hesitant to ask at first. i know that carlos is very busy, has other thing that he is doing, but i said i will give it a try. i would be so honored if he did so. without hesitation, he said, i will be there. thank you so much. my wife. i cannot say enough about you. thank you.
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i want to start this evening by sharing the story of a young man, 13, moved to the united states as an immigrant. his parents worked in a factory. in his house, only spanish was spoken. he struggled to make sense of english, the language spoken in the classroom. school had always been easy for him, but the new language and culture made it exceedingly difficult. he gave a solid effort, but after multiple report cards of bad grades, he is feeling discouraged. his parents are not educated, they do not understand his homework. but frankly, they are very busy trying to work and make ends meet. it hardly seems right to burden them with this. none of his teachers even knew him. he is one of 1000 kids bumping around the hallways, filling in
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the seats. no one, seemingly hears. eventually, he stopped going to class and before long, drops out entirely. he feels bad that feels there is nothing he can not do. many of you have heard stories of young people dropping out. not all of you know, this is also my story. i dropped out of high school, convinced that nobody cared or would help. i am sure i was wrong, but i did not know at the time. i did eventually get my life together and finished college, went to law school, became a police chief, and who would ever believe, a district attorney of this incredible, a wonderful city. [applause] and we were trying to determine
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where would i want to be sworn in. frankly, city hall becomes the obvious -- a tremendous amount of symbolism, an incredible building, history. as i was talking to christine, my chief of staff, someone that i trust dearly -- [applause] and her understanding of how i feel about why i am doing this, why feel it is important to work with kids, keep them in school, keep them out of the criminal justice system, mission high school became an obvious choice for those three reasons. i relate to so many young people in the school and schools around our city. i stand before you as confirmation that an amazing life is possible for each and every one of our young people. i want them to know, if i can go from a place of such profound
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marginal causation, to a place of leadership, absolutely anything is possible. i have never forgot the difficulties i had as an immigrant to this country, and the toils of my parents as they struggle to provide for me, just as i will never forget my experiences as a beat cop working in los angeles, and frankly, working with those that went to compton court. or as chief of police. this life experience informs my vision and daily work as your district attorney. one of the cabinet that i made to gavin newsom and during our earlier conversations when i was competing for the job of the chief of police here was that i would do everything i could to make sure that san francisco became the safest large city in the country. [applause]
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my number one commitment to this incredible city was -- by the way, it is my city by choice. i know mario of you are proud for being born here, but i tell people i am an american by choice, and there is something to be said about that. and i am a san franciscan by choice. my wife and i love the city like no other. i have great memories of los angeles, will always be a part of the scene and city, but this is our home, this is where we are going to be. my number one commitment to make this city safe, that i would venture to work every day to reduce violent clark -- cries by aggressively prosecuting those accused of the most heinous crimes. murder, rape, and others. violence in civilizations are both in conflict.
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i will not tolerate a justice system that moves too slowly or not at all when someone dangerous is before us. since taking the helm in january, after someone that i have a great deal of respect for, tremendous work for their office, who has struggled for many years, without any technology, and with a tremendous amount of internal problems, i wanted to make sure that i would continue to do the work that kamala harris did, continue to move this office to the next level. one of my first commitment was to reduce the backlog in homicides. we have done so by 36%, resolving cases that have been languishing for years because of a lack of resources, and finally giving family some closure. i am proud to say that i continued the work that kamala harris did, her homicide team.
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conviction rate is now at 91%. equally impressive is our results in sex crimes where we have an 89% conviction rate, and our gang unit, where we have a 100% conviction rate. this is important, because often, especially during the campaign, a lot of people use disparaging marks for the performance of the san francisco district attorney's office. in addition to this effort, we are tackling white-collar crime. we have created a corporate crime division to look into illegal behavior by companies. we have all seen the devastation that corporate crime can have, not just on our economy, but on the lives of hard-working people. we are committed to prosecuting aggressively. we will also be establishing a
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high tech crime unit to deal with those crimes. finally, we will continue to pursue cases where the public trust is violated by public officials. all these efforts are an important component of our efforts to make san francisco safe. every single day, the dedicated men and women of the district attorney's office are fighting on your behalf. let me ask those of you to stand up and be recognized. thank you so much for your hard work. [applause] your support from day one is something i will never forget. i know i have mentioned this to you before, but i will say so in a more public setting. i would not be here if but for the great work that you do day
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in, day out. you provided me the opportunity to tell the story of this san francisco district attorney's office, and i am deeply embedded -- indebted to you. i will work to ride to the leadership necessary so that you can do what you do best. putting people that need to be placed somewhere else, whether under community provision, were incarcerated, in order to keep our communities safe. but i have to tell you, in my opinion, there is much more to being a district attorney than simply being a tough person in the courtroom. that is why i wholeheartedly support the concept of realignment, and the restructuring of our criminal justice system in california. we must determine which offender needs to be kept away from society, and which is simply
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being kept away from opportunity. for too long, we have used jails and prisons as a solution to every type of crime and offender. socially, we could never afford this approach, even though we have. now we are seeing it is financially unstable as well. i see realignment as an opportunity to set an example for the state. i will not measure my success by the number of faces behind bars. [applause] that was my pleasure during the campaign, and will continue to be my pledge. i will measure my success by the safety of each street corner and alley in this wonderful city. [applause] every dollar we spend a locking up someone is a dollar that could have been spent on our schools and recreation centers.
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these are tough times with limited resources, and i will be thoughtful about how and when we use them. after 30 years in law enforcement, i have seen people who are extremely dangerous, but many more who are misguided. we can no longer afford to lock up those that are in demand -- for safety. it does not work, it doesn't make us safer, and we cannot afford it. instead, we must work to make better solutions to save those people, to save their faith come at and energy of the criminal- justice system, for those that are truly dangerous. we must be certain people committing rapes, murders, and other violent and serious offenses are series brought to justice and prevented from harming others. you have my commitment that i
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will approach our criminal justice system with a surgical component. we have an incredible opportunity to do things differently, here in san francisco, and to create a model for the state and beyond. we have to understand most folks involved in crime will eventually come home. we have to recognize them as long-term members of our community, hold them accountable, but for that -- provide them and a real chance to become reintegrated. we have to prioritize in a good education, decent jobs, fair wages, safe housing and communities. without this building blocks, no criminal justice system will ever succeed. and public safety is not about to process, not just about due process in a court room. it is also about due process in life. only this attitude shift will get us to real public safety.
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and being the d a is also being part of the community. i will not sit and wait for bad things to happen to people. i will into the pit problems and intervene. we all know a town in the classroom is less likely to end up in a court room as a defendant or rectum. we know people exposed to violence are more likely to be victims and perpetrators of violence. identifying those risks and getting them services early as the best way to reduce victimization and increased public safety. this is not something that i commit to lightly. this is not just about the courtroom, but it is also about the classroom. i am committed to shutting down the school to prison pipeline that we have perpetuated for too many years in to many urban
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centers, including our own. we need to prevent children from ever entering the juvenile justice system. we will be in the classrooms working with young people, bringing resources to them, as we are now doing in burton high- school with a program we created for students having difficulty making a transition. we are seeing a truant students improve their attendance. this is meaningful for crime rates, but more importantly, these numbers are meaningful to the young person, their family, and our community. together with the school district and common sense media, we are helping young people understand what it means to be good citizens, informing them of the dangers of cyber bullying, and working with this new medium. this program will help young people to stay engaged in their education and away from our
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jails and prisons. also, i recognize we must continue to engage our community, and often, come to the hall of justice. every victim of a crime should be helped. to be sure that they are held, we have moved our offices into the community. people can now meet with us in chinatown, the mission, and bayview. by the end of this year, they will be able to do so in any other part of the city. to a woman struggling to take care of her children and preventing them from her abusive husband, it is monumental to be able to walk down the street to a safe and familiar pleas to ask for help. [applause] similarly, to a young person fearful that if they cooperate with law enforcement, our may come to them, this community resources and not able.
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communities should be able to say what crimes they care most about and be part of resolving them. our neighborhood courts and prosecutors program helped to resolve cases that do not require the full muscle of the criminal justice system, and where the community input is critical. we have volunteer mediators that are vested in the community and are trained by us to help solve cases from public intoxication to graffiti to other low-level offenses. these people know what matters most to their communities and have a great impact on the individuals brought before them. these cases are handled for an apartment $300, compared to the $1,400 it would cost to hear the case in the courtroom. this is cheaper, and as we are seeing, more effective. cases are heard within a month. -- within a week.
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the resolution helps everyone recover from the incident and puts the offender on the right path. thus far, we have seen 400 of these cases. by the end of this year, we will be to run the city. in conclusion, it is such an exceptional honor for me to serve the city and county of san francisco. it is committed to members like you that makes san francisco the greatest city in the country. here in the mission district, i am reminded of the neighborhood i grew up and and the amazing journey my life has taken me. from an immigrant kid who dropped out of school to be the district attorney in the greatest city in the world. i am humbled and honored to be here with you today. my commitment to you is to tackle large challenges in the courtroom, classroom, and community. together, we are on our way to making san francisco the safest
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big city in america. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome father donald godfrey. >> let us pray. god, our compassion and justice, on this joyful occasion of this swearing in of george gascon, we ask you to bless the george, his
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wife, family, and wrens. empower the district attorney with the gifts of an ever deeper desire for truth, fairness, justice, equality, strength, professionalism, and integrity, so as to serve all of us, the people of our city of st. francis better. whenever our socio-economic background, culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, a belief system order religious tradition. bless his staff and all that work alongside him in his important mission for our common good. bless him with comfort and easy answers. bless him with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so he
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will work for restorative justice, always remembering those without a voice or power in our society. to this end, blessed george with the foolishness to think that he can make a difference in this world so that he will do the things that others will tell him cannot be done. george, correct my spanish afterwards, please. [speaking spanish] amen. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the san francisco bay men's chorus.
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